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India to hold crucial Naga talks in Bangkok

The talks between NSCN-IM and New Delhi's peace negotiators, led by Oscar Fernandes, would be held in Bangkok.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2005 13:10 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

The Indian government is to hold fresh talks in Bangkok next week with the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) on its demands for unification of northeast's Naga-inhabited areas, a rebel leader said on Wednesday.

The talks between NSCN-IM and New Delhi's peace negotiators, led by Oscar Fernandes, Union Minister for Programme Implementation and Overseas Indian affairs, would be held in the Thai capital on December 15.

"The talks are delicately poised and the Indian government's response to our demands would be very crucial in deciding whether or not the peace process continues," senior NSCN-IM leader Kraibo Chawang said.

"There cannot be any solution without merging all Naga-inhabited areas in the northeast and if our rights are denied we shall have no option but to pull out of the ceasefire," Chawang informed.

He along with other rebel leaders of the group are leaving for Bangkok to join Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah for the talks.

The NSCN-IM and New Delhi entered into a ceasefire in August 1997 with the ongoing truce expiring on Jan 31 next year.

The two sides held at least 50 rounds of peace talks to end one of South Asia's longest running insurgencies.

The NSCN, one of the oldest and most powerful of about 30 rebel groups in northeast, wants to create a "Greater Nagaland" out of Nagaland state by slicing off parts of neighbouring states that have Naga tribal populations.

The governments of Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh have already rejected the NSCN-IM's demand for unification of Naga-dominated areas.

"Integrating Naga-dominated areas is not a demand but a genuine historical and political right of the Nagas to live together," Chawang said.

"We have fought for more than five decades and if required we shall have to fight again to get our rights."

A home ministry official said the government was aware of the 'belligerent mood' in the NSCN-IM camp.

"We need to tread cautiously and a single wrong move at this stage could well jeopardise the eight-year-old peace process," the official said.

"We have worked out certain back up plans and the ideas would be shared with the NSCN-IM leadership during the talks."

First Published: Dec 07, 2005 13:10 IST